We begin this week with a song of tribute.
In honor of Duke (the smart kids) becoming bowl eligible for the first time since 1994, we have chosen the song; “A Little Ditty Bout Jack and Diane.”
The reason; one of the members of the Duke Football team, is a 165 walk-on defensive back, by the name of; Hud Mellencamp. (Hud must be a Paul Newman reference.)
Yeah, he’s the son of rocker John.
The kid may be small, but this is not a charity case.
It turns out the Bloomington, Indiana native, is a 2-time Gold Gloves boxing champ, and isn’t afraid to get his nose bloody.
Or as the song says; “Jackie’s gonna be a football star….”
This weekend, let’s see which alums leave the stadium singing; “Ain’t that America…” in celebration of a well earned victory, and which straggle out, listening to different Mellencamp tune; “Life is Hard.”
No.3 Florida vs. No.12 Georgia (Ch.4, 3:30 p.m.) – Jacksonville, Fla. In the 2012 version of; “The World’s Largest Cocktail Party,” (a term first used in the 50’s, coined by Florida Times-Union Sports Editor, Bill Kastelz), the surprise team is; Florida.
The identity of Will Muschamp’s Gators is a searing defense, worthy of Clarence Darrow.
It has made Florida a legitimate national championship contender, and a Gator victory punches its ticket into the SEC Championship Game.
The lockjaw D anchored by backer Jonathan Bostic, and end Shariff Floyd, has corralled 8 interceptions, surrenders a Twiggy-like 12 points a game, and hits with the same ferocity of the ICU against Lance “The Fraud” Armstrong.
But on offense, the Boys from the Swamp are a different animal.
Florida’s pedestrian attack, (54th in scoring – 30 pts. a game), is directed by its dual threat QB, Jeff (8 touchdown passes – 1 interception) Driskel.
The kid leans heavily on his plow horse tailback, Mike Gillislee, while tight end Jordan Reed, and wideout Quinton Dunbar, are principle targets.
In Athens, ever since its humiliating 28 point loss to South Carolina, the Bulldogs have played like it’s chained to the doghouse of its mascot; UGA IX.
But if Georgia wins, a tall order, it regains control, of its, SEC East destiny.
The Dawgs are directed by its starry QB Aaron Murray (16 touchdown passes – 4 interceptions), who remains burdened with the reputation, of pulling a Houdini, in big games.
The rocket armed, senior QB, is assisted by a pair of scintillating freshmen tailbacks; Todd Gurley, and Keith Marshall, whose moniker is; “Gurshall,” in honor of Herschel.
And when these Sons of Vince Dooley take to the air, Tavarres King, and Michael Bennett are sure handed safety nets.
But as the Red and Black clad faithful are well aware, the Dawgs run D, has been shredded more often, than a block of cheddar, in a Kraft factory.
This leaky group, led by its All-America backer Jarvis Jones (ankle – will play), and his compadres; Amarlo Herrera and Michael Gillard, must find a way to plug those holes.
We think the imbibing gets more celebratory on the Florida side, as the Gators, who have won 18 of the last 22 Cocktail Parties, once again muzzle the Dawgs, keeping its title hopes on track.
No.5 Notre Dame at No.8 Oklahoma (Ch.5, 8 p.m.) Even the Pope will be clearing his schedule to watch this game.
This is the biggest game in over a decade for the Irish, and by far, it sternest test of the season.
The Domer’s success lies in its defensive foundation.
The nation’s second stingiest (9 pts a game) eleven, surrenders a touchdown (6), about as often as His Holiness misses Mass.
This steel enforced front seven, led by its ubiquitous All-America backer Manti Te’o, end Stephon Tuitt, and safety Zeke Motta, plays with the same burning animosity that Boston Mayor Tom Menino holds, towards his predecessor, Ray Flynn.
But it’s the sputtering offense, 76th in scoring (25 pts. a game), that causes the greatest angst amongst the Touchdown Jesus faithful.
The Irish are directed by its dual-threat, learning curve QB, Everett Golson (4 touchdown passes – 3 interceptions), with assists from tailbacks; Cierre Wood and Theo Riddick.
And as always, waiting in the “bullpen” is the “Black Hand’s” favorite; Tommy Rees.
When the QB goes aerial, wideout T.J. Jones, and All-America tight end Tyler Eifert, are comforting bailouts.
In Norman, since the arrival of Coach Bob Stoops, 14 plus seasons ago, Oklahoma is a jaw dropping 79-4 at home, and 139-34 overall.
Stoops is also 14-1 against ranked teams when playing at Memorial Stadium. Ouch!
And what is even more worrisome for the South Bend zealots, these Sons of Bud Wilkerson have regained its swagger.
The nation’s fifth highest scoring team (44 points a game), is commanded by QB Landry Jones (12 touchdown passes – 3 interceptions), with assists from tailbacks; Brennan Clay, Damien Williams and receivers; Kenny Stills and Justin Brown.
The country’s 12th tightest D (15 pts a game), featuring backer Tom Wort, and end Chuka Ndule, is playing with a disruptive nastiness.
A large measure of that improved defense, eliminating the big play, can be attributed to the return of coordinator, and brother; Mike Stoops,
In Norman, OU already had its stumble against Kansas State. It won’t happen twice in the same season, as the Sooners boomer the Irish carriage, back into a pumpkin.
No. 9 Ohio State at Penn State (ESPN, 5:30 p.m.) In Columbus, the Urban renewal project is ahead of schedule.
The lynchpin, for the unblemished Buckeyes, (the nation’s 10th best rushing attack) is its dual threat QB, Braxton (11 touchdown passes – 5 interceptions – 959 yards rushing – 10 TDs) “The Bulldozer,” Miller.
[Note; if the OSU maestro can’t play – neck – junior QB Kenny Guiton is a solid backup].
The Columbus Colossus, and Heisman candidate, is assisted by tailback Carlos Hyde, and when he connects (Bucks are 101st in passing), Corey Brown, and Devin Smith are comforting targets.
But as the Horseshoe faithful are well aware, the banged-up D, led by backer Ryan Shazier, and end John Simon, has been gashed more than a Big Dig tunnel.
Newly minted Coach Bill O’Brien, and his Nittany Lions, has impressively won five in a row, while distancing themselves, from the disgraced shadow, of Joe Paterno.
In fact, Penn State may be the best team in the BIG.
A key factor, has been the reclamation of QB Matt McGloin (14 touchdown passes – 2 interceptions), who went from Paterno’s scrap heap, to OB’s penthouse.
In the Nits no-huddle, NASCAR approach, the QB has been flawless, assisted by tight end Kyle Carter, wideout Allen Robinson, and tailback Zach Zwinak.
The nation’s 13th stingiest D (15 pts. a game), fires behind its All-America caliber backer Michael Manti, fellow backer Gerald Hodges, and tackle Jordan Hill.
This group has been the glue to the unexpected Penn State success.
In a very close game, we think the magic continues in Happy Valley, as the legend of Bill O’Brien begins to grow.
No. 15 Texas Tech vs. No. 4 Kansas State (Fox, 3:30 p.m.) In Lubbock, it’s “Guns Up,” for the TT pairing; Coach Tommy Tuberville, and Texas Tech football.
The only aerial show, better than the Red Raiders air raid display (4th in nation), takes place in New York Harbor on the Fourth of July.
TT’s pyrotechnic director, is QB sharp shooter Seth (28 touchdown passes – 7 interceptions – 70% completions) Doege, who leads the nation’s 10th highest scoring (42 pts. a game) eleven.
The gunslinger is assisted by a trio of tailbacks: Kenny Williams, Eric Stephens, and SaDale Foster, who have combined for over 1000 yards, and 8 touchdowns.
And when the sky writing show is in full bloom, receivers; Darrin Moore, Eric Ward, and tight end Jace Amaro are the main ball catchers.
But it’s the 7th ranked D, featuring safety Cody Davis, and tackle Kerry Hyde, which has the Lubbock faithful giddy over the real possibility of an upset.
The only person on a better roll than KState Coach Bill Snyder, and QB Collin Klein, is Mitt Romney.
The fundamentally perfect Purple Cats, have become; “The Little Engine That Could,” and have scratched its way, for a chance, to play for the national title.
The fuel empowering that engine, is its Heisman leader; “Mr. Everything,” QB Collin (10 touchdown passes – 2 interceptions – 70% completions – 14 rushing TDs) Klein.
The steel hardened QB endures a weekly pounding, similar to a light house in a New England Northeaster.
The Cats, who average 42 points a game, claw teams behind tailback, John Hubert (8TDs), and quality wideouts; Chris Harper, and Tyler Lockett.
The D, led by backer Arthur Brown, ends Adam Davis, and Mesak Williams, stones runners, is a plus 12 in turnover margin, while surrendering less than 17 points a game.
In Manhattan the mantra is; “The show must go on!” but in the “Little Apple,” the Wildcats engine keeps chugging, as Coach Bill Snyder’s Boys continue to wow the critics.
No. 11 Mississippi State at No. 1 Alabama (ESPN, 8:30 p.m.) The last time these teams met undefeated; Hitler was storming through Europe, while Churchill, and Roosevelt, were playing poker, and sipping whiskey in the White House; 1942.
Coach Dan Mullen’s hard working Bulldogs, winners of 9 straight, should be sponsored by Work n’ Gear.
The Starkville yardage grinders, directed by QB Tyler Russell (15 touchdown passes – 1 interception), with assists from tailback LaDarius Perkins, and receivers; Chad Bumphis and Chris Smith, are about as flashy as; Pops Director Keith Lockhart.
On the other side, the nation’s ninth stingiest D, featuring backer Deontae Skinner, play with the bone rattling exuberance, of a Flamenco dancer.
The Titans from Tuscaloosa, in search of its second consecutive national championship, and third in four years, have received more accolades than Nelson Mandela.
It begins with a D, that sports numbers, almost as impressive as; a share of Apple stock, or Elle McPherson from a Sports Illustrated swim suit cover.
These ferocious disruptors, led by backers C.J. Mosley, and Trey Depriest, are tops in total D, run D (allowing less than 2 yards a carry), scoring D (8 pts. a game), and second in pass D.
In addition, St. Nick’s Boys, who have won 11 straight, are third in turnover margin- plus 14 – while corralling 13 interceptions.
The Defense Aficionados from the Pentagon should inspect the Tide’s blueprint.
Alabama’s offense isn’t as flashy, but still a cut of prime quality.
Bama’s Philharmonic maestro, QB Chris McCarron (16 touchdown passes – 0 interceptions – who is riding a streak of 239 passes without a pick), is steadier than a Wallenda walking a high wire.
The junior is one of only two Division 1 signal callers, not to have thrown a pick.
The nation’s 14 highest scoring team (41 pts. a game), operates behind the tailback duo; Eddie Lacy, and T.J. Yeldon (over 1000 yards combined), and wideouts; Amari Cooper, and Kevin Norwood.
The Tide remains unblemished, setting up next week’s Armageddon (3) meeting, in Baton Rouge, against LSU.
Last week: 5-0 Season record: 29-11.
Be sure to read our recap, which will be up and running by noon Sunday. Until then, Peace, and listen to the music. PK